Common Automotive Defects That Cause Car Accidents


Auto accidents injure more than 2 million U.S. drivers each year and kill an additional 35,000 people. However, there are many different causes of car accidents. Drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, and road rage are some of the most common causes. Automotive defects are a special type of case because the defendant is a manufacturer and not another driver.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the federal regulator tasked with coordinating recalls with manufacturers. Each year, manufacturers recall vehicles or auto parts that have safety defects, which can affect various parts of a vehicle.

Defective Airbags

The largest recall in world history involved Takata airbag inflators, which are responsible for more than 20 deaths and countless injuries worldwide. Takata airbag inflators, which are housed in a metal casing, can become unstable and explode without warning. Victims of this defect died or suffered injuries due to being hit with metal fragments from the casing.

Additional types of defects could keep these airbags from deploying during an accident. Since airbags help cushion the impact forces of a collision, occupants can suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries if airbags fail to deploy.

Defective Seat Belts 

Seat belts also help cushion you from the impact forces of a collision. Defective seat belts may have faulty pre-tensioners, the part of the seat belt that locks in place during a wreck. Similarly, seat belt latching defects could cause you to incorrectly believe you are buckled in securely.

Defective Car Tires

Firestone tires are a classic example of a defective car tire. During the summer of 2000, Bridgestone, the manufacturer of Firestone tires, recalled more than 6 million tires linked to fatal car accidents. The treads on the tire would sometimes peel off while vehicles were in motion, even at high speeds. Heat would trigger the defect to occur, which meant many of the cases were for accidents in California and states in the South.

Other types of defects may increase the risk of a blowout, where the tire suddenly loses pressure. This can cause motorists to lose control while driving.

Faulty Car Brakes

Defects on car brakes can affect multiple components. For instance, General Motors (GM) recalled more than 200,000 vehicles in 2018 due to a defect that caused bubbles to form in the brake fluid. This defect increases the stopping distance, which raised the risk of colliding with other vehicles or objects.

Brake pedals may also have defects. In February, Nissan recalled more than 86,000 vehicles with faulty brake pedals. According to NHTSA, the defect caused the pedal to drop to the floor more quickly than motorists might expect. The defect made it more difficult for motorists to determine if they were engaging the brakes.

Steering Defects in Vehicles

Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 880,000 vehicles in early 2019 due to a defect that could potentially keep motorists from steering their vehicles. According to the automaker, drivers could experience a loss of steering if a certain nut came loose. 

Steering defects can occur for a number of reasons, such as a faulty steering lock or a defective power steering pump. Faulty hydraulics, wiring, and the steering column can lead to a loss of control while driving. 

Electrical Defects in Vehicles 

Electrical defects often cause a loss of power. For example, GM’s faulty ignition interlock could cause a loss of many vehicle functions without warning. When power cuts out to a vehicle while it is in motion, many features may be unavailable. This raises the risk of an accident. Engine defects could also lead to a loss of power or speed while driving.

Call Our Vineland Car Defect Attorneys for More Information

The attorneys at Rosner Law Offices P.C. can help you determine if an auto defect caused your accident. You can schedule a free consultation with our Cumberland County car defect attorneys by dialing (856) 502-1655 or by using the case review form on our website.

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